Background: Screening in subjects with left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) reveals a high prevalence of Fabry disease (FD). Often, a diagnosis is uncertain because characteristic clinical features are absent and genetic variants of unknown significance (GVUS) in the α-galactosidase A (GLA) gene are identified. This carries a risk of misdiagnosis, inappropriate counselling and extremely expensive treatment. We developed a diagnostic algorithm for adults with LVH (maximal wall thickness (MWT) of >12 mm), GLA GVUS and an uncertain diagnosis of FD.
Methods: A Delphi method was used to reach a consensus between FD experts. We performed a systematic review selecting criteria on electrocardiogram, MRI and echocardiography to confirm or exclude FD. Criteria for a definite or uncertain diagnosis and a gold standard were defined.
Results: A definite diagnosis of FD was defined as follows: a GLA mutation with ≤ 5% GLA activity (leucocytes, mean of reference value, males only) with ≥ 1 characteristic FD symptom or sign (neuropathic pain, cornea verticillata, angiokeratoma) or increased plasma (lyso)Gb3 (classical male range) or family members with definite FD. Subjects with LVH failing these criteria have a GVUS and an uncertain diagnosis. The gold standard was defined as characteristic storage in an endomyocardial biopsy on electron microscopy. Abnormally low voltages on ECG and severe LVH (MWT>15 mm) <20 years exclude FD. Other criteria were rejected due to insufficient evidence.
Conclusions: In adults with unexplained LVH and a GLA GVUS, severe LVH at young age and low voltages on ECG exclude FD. If absent, an endomyocardial biopsy with electron microscopy should be performed.
Keywords: Consensus; Diagnosis; Fabry disease; Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Left ventricular hypertrophy.
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